Saturday, 14 July 2018

Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots, Armenia

Today's last card is from the lovely Sini who keeps surprising me with lots of lovely postcards from her travels. She has visited some amazing places, it's always fascinating to read about her travels.

The cathedral and churches of Echmiatsin and the archaeological remains at Zvartnots graphically illustrate the evolution and development of the Armenian central-domed cross-hall type of church, which exerted a profound influence on architectural and artistic development in the region.

The city of Echmiatsin is located in the Armavir Marz region of Armenia. The settlement has existed since ancient times, as evidenced by Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age archaeological sites located in and near the city. The oldest written information about Echmiatsin refers to the period of the Urartian King Rusa II (685-645 BC). The settlement was mentioned in the Urartian cuneiform inscription by the name of Kuarlini. Life in this Armenian settlement has continued uninterrupted. The town has been called, successively, Artimed, during the rule of Yervandunis (as evidenced by Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (5th century AD)), Vardgesavan, and afterwards Vagharshapat, during the age of development under the rule of King Vagharsh I Arshakuni (AD 117-140). The name Echmiatsin was used along with that of Vagharshapat after the adoption of Christianity (AD 301).

The inscribed property is divided into three separate areas: the first area includes the Mother Cathedral of Echmiatsin and St Gayane Church. The area is about 30.2 ha. 18.8 ha belongs to the Mother See of Echmiatsin (the Mother Cathedral and surrounding constructions covering 16.4 ha, the St Gayane Church and surrounding buildings covering 2.0 ha, and the cemetery of the congregation covering 0.4 ha) and 11.4 ha belongs to the community of Echmiatsin City. The second area includes St Hripsime Church and St Shoghakat Church. This area is about 25.3 ha, with 6.2 ha being the territory of St Hripsimeh Church, belonging to the Mother See. The remaining 19.2 ha belongs to the community of Echmiatsin City.

The third area consists of the archaeological site of Zvartnots, with the ruins of the temple, Catholicos Palace and other constructions, and occupies about 18.8 ha.

The religious buildings of Echmiatsin and the archaeological remains at Zvartnots bear witness to the implantation of Christianity in Armenia and to the evolution of a unique Armenian ecclesiastical architecture, which exerted a profound influence on architectural and artistic development in the region. They graphically illustrate the evolution and flowering of the Armenian central-domed cross-hall type of church.

Palojoki, Lapland, Finland

...and now for something I have been dreaming of recently.. even more so than being on a tropical beach :P I think it has been more since I moved to England that I have learned to appreciate the beauty and the tranquility of the Finnish nature. There's something here that makes me very "homesick". ...and yet England is my home now...

This card is from one of my 'summer card pals', Tua, from last year. I really like that project and have been participating on the Finnish Postcrossing forum on it for years. It doesn't seem too active this year, I'm a little disappointment I must say. It was so much fun last year and I received so many gorgeous postcards such as this from Lapland. The sender of this card lives in a village near this river. It looks so calm and tranquil. It would probably be nice to swim in the river at the moment, too, if you were there now as Lapland has been having a heatwave for a while now as well. Not something you get every year! :o

The stamp is from a set of awesome sauna stamps issued last year. I have a bit of a thing for the sauna and collect postcards relating to it. I have a fairly reasonable collection by now as well. NOTE: the link is not work safe and some of the pictures contain nudity.

Greetings from Cyprus

I have picked some predominantly blue cards for today. try and feel a bit cooler myself?? :P This postcard is from a swap with Sandra, she helped in designing this card as well which I think is pretty awesome.

The picture here shows the birthplace of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. She is identified with the planet Venus, which is named after the Roman goddess Venus, with whom Aphrodite was extensively syncretized. Aphrodite's major symbols include myrtles, roses, doves, sparrows, and swans.


We have been having a heatwave here in England for... umm.. I can't even remember how long for now, it must be at least three weeks or that what it feels like. I know I shouldn't complain because normally I'm too cold, but it's getting rather uncomfortable when I can't sleep properly at night (even with a fan on in my bedroom and the window open) and I'm constantly tired. If you close your eyes you can almost imagine being in a tropical paradise :p I wouldn't say no to a calm beach like this!

This postcard is from a friend, his mum had a stack of postcards from different places that he found when she passed away... This is one of them. I don't know whether she actually ever visited the Maldives, probably. She was such an amazing woman, I miss her.

The Maldives remained largely unknown to tourists until the early 1970s. Only 185 islands are home to its 300,000 inhabitants. The other islands are used entirely for economic purposes, of which tourism and agriculture are the most dominant. Tourism accounts for 28% of the GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn, Austria

One more for today... another swap from last year and also a Unesco card with a Europa stamp and gorgeous special cancellations. :) Thank you so much, Marco!

From the 18th century to 1918, Schönbrunn was the residence of the Habsburg emperors. It was designed by the architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicolaus Pacassi and is full of outstanding examples of decorative art. Together with its gardens, the site of the world’s first zoo in 1752, it is a remarkable Baroque ensemble and a perfect example of Gesamtkunstwerk.


Guimarães, Portugal

Just a couple of other random cards for today... This one is from a swap from last year. I was actually able to collect some Europa stamps then as the Royal Mail decided to issue one as well and I was able to offer a Europa stamp for swap. This year, once again, the Royal Mail haven't bothered :(

The exceptionally well preserved Historic Centre of Guimarães, located in the northern Portugal district of Braga, is often referred to as the cradle of the Portuguese nationality. The history of Guimarães is closely associated with the creation of the national identity and language of Portugal. The city was the feudal territory of the Portuguese Dukes who declared the independence of Portugal in the mid-12th century.

Founded in the 4th century, Guimarães became the first capital of Portugal in the 12th century. Its historic centre is an extremely well preserved and an authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifying the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to the 19th centuries through the consistent use of traditional building materials and techniques. This variety of different building types documents the responses to the evolving needs of the community. A particular type of construction developed here in the Middle Ages was used widely in the then Portuguese colonies. It featured a ground floor in granite with a half-timbered structure above, a technology that was transmitted to Portuguese colonies in Africa and the New World, becoming their characteristic feature.

The Historic Centre of Guimarães is distinguished in particular for the integrity of its historically authentic building stock. Examples from the period from 950 to 1498 include the two anchors around which Guimarães initially developed, the castle in the north and the monastic complex in the south. The period from 1498 to 1693 is characterized by noble houses and the development of civic facilities, city squares, etc. While there have been some changes during the modern era, the historic centre of Guimarães has maintained its medieval urban layout. The continuity in traditional technology and the maintenance and gradual change have contributed to an exceptionally harmonious townscape.

What do you know about the USA

Long time no see... I hadn't realised it's been over a year since my last update. Ooops... I don't think I'll ever catch up with this, as even if I have the time, most of the time I'm not in the mood for doing this.

Anyway... I've started collecting a new postcard series. I wasn't going to, but I think these water colours are really pretty and the cards are really nice. I'm posting this one now mainly because I'll be going to the USA myself later this year. :) I'll be going to Orlando, Florida for 10 days in October and very much looking forward to it, although I'm also a little nervous as I've never been outside of Europe before. It should be interesting, though. I'm not too keen on Disney but I definitely want to visit the Universal Studios - and travel on the Hogwarts Express ;)

This card is from a swap with Julia earlier this year. She added a little bit of information on the back of the card as well, about the Four Corners Monument. It is the only place in the US where four states intersect: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. You can stand on that spot and truly be in four states at one time.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Trinidad, Cuba

This card only arrived last week and was a complete surprise. Sini from Finland was on holiday in Cuba recently and decided to send me a card, thank you a million again! It has been really interesting to hear about your holiday!

Trinidad is a town in the province of Sancti Spíritus, central Cuba. Together with the nearby Valle de los Ingenios, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988.

Trinidad was founded on December 23, 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar under the name Villa de la Santísima Trinidad.

Hernán Cortés recruited men for his expedition from Juan de Grijalva's home in Trinidads, and Sancti Spíritus, at the start of his 1518 expedition. This included Pedro de Alvarado and his five brothers. After ten days, Cortes sailed, the alcayde Francisco Verdugo failing to prevent Cortes from leaving, despite orders from Diego Velázquez.

 Francisco Iznaga, a Basque landowner in the southern portion of Cuba during the first 30 years of the colonization of Cuba, was elected Mayor of Bayamo in 1540. Iznaga was the originator of a powerful lineage which finally settled in Trinidad where the Torre Iznaga (Iznaga Tower) is. His descendants fought for the independence of Cuba and for annexation to the U.S., from 1820 to 1900.

Trinidad is one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean from the time when the sugar trade was the main industry in the region.

Greetings from Latvia

What does it say about this series that they aren't always even checked properly before going for printing, like here - one of the 'famous Latvians' is listed twice?! Unless I'm very much mistaken, a corrected issue was published later.. I've pretty much given up on trying to get the new issues as well because they all seem to be such hard-to-get countries and I'm not willing to pay ridiculous amounts for mint stamps/extra cards etc. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. ....and I should still be getting the new special edition Finland card as I managed to arrange a swap for it. :)

 This one is from a swap from two years ago.

I tried to find more information about this apparently very famous Arvīds Blūmentāls but Wikipedia doesn't have any information about them in English. ...and I'm too lazy to comment on anything else. :P

Manawatu Gorge, New Zealand

Another way overdue post... I don't think I'll be back to updating this blog regularly anymore, I have tried and failed too many times, but I'll try to do it occasionally. I have just been too busy and/or other things have taken priority. I got reminded about updating a few days ago when I had a nice email from Jacob, asking for a swap. It certainly cheered me up, although I'm a little confused that apparently someone still reads this blog :O I thought I'd update briefly again and picked a couple of random cards from my pile of cards that I've been wanting to write about. The first one is from a Postcrossing forum RR from last year.

The Manawatu Gorge (in Māori Te Apiti, meaning "The Narrow Passage") runs for 6-9 km between the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges in the south part of the North Island of New Zealand, linking the Manawatu and Hawke's Bay regions. It lies to the northeast of Palmerston North. Its western end is near the small town of Ashhurst, its eastern end is close to the town of Woodville.

The Manawatu Gorge is significant because, unlike most gorges, the Manawatu River is a water gap, that is it runs directly through the surrounding ranges from one side to the other. This was caused by the ranges moving upwards at the same time as the gorge was eroded by the river, instead of the more usual erosion of an already existing range.

The Manawatu River is the only river in New Zealand that starts its journey on one side of the main divide and finishes it on the other side.

 A single track rail connection was established on the northern side of the gorge; it was completed in 1891 and is now part of the Palmerston North – Gisborne Line. The rail connection is mainly used by goods trains; there are currently no scheduled passenger rail services through the gorge. Occasional railway excursions, typically with steam trains, also make use of the scenic Manawatu Gorge Railway line with its two tunnels and several small bridges.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Apologies for the lack of posts here, I know I have been completely useless at updating this blog. This summer hasn't been too good, however. I don't want to go into more detail here, let's just say that I haven't exactly been in the mood for posting here. I've been pretty rubbish with sending postcards as well for the past few months, and as a result, haven't had many back. ...which is why I was so surprised to find this postcard from Jobbo in my mailbox earlier this week. I wasn't expecting anything like this at all! Thank you a million, Jobbo, you really cheered me up!

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion. Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic centre of Laos. The estimated population of the city is 760,000 (2015).

Pha That Luang is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the centre of Vientiane, Laos. Since its initial establishment, suggested to be in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several reconstructions as recently as the 1930s due to foreign invasions of the area. It is generally regarded as the most important national monument in Laos and a national symbol. Vientiane's most important Theravada Buddhist festival, "Bun That Luang", is held here for three days during the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (November).

Monday, 16 May 2016

Year of the Monkey, Vietnam

Today's last card is from the same RR as the Australian library I just posted about. This is such a cheerful card!

Vietnamese stamps always seem to be so pretty and colourful, they are some of my favourites when it comes to stamps. The Vietnamese Lunar Year stamps always have such a nice design, too!